New research is examining the role a certain hormone could play in the poor state of cardiovascular health in Pacific communities.
Pacific people die of cardiovascular illness at a higher rate than others.
Research into this often looks at diet and lifestyle factors based.
Otago University physiologist, Daryl Schwenke, said while those factors play a role, there are often other reasons too.
The associate professor is studying the hormone ghrelin, which he says regulates appetite.
"So we have preliminary data which shows that in general the Pacific people tend to have a lower level of this particular hormone, and so therefore it is possible that this could be a contributing factor to the onset of this heart disease."
Daryl Schwenke said his research is in its early stages, and that more Pacific people - from various places - are needed to contribute to it.